CHEYENNE, Wyo. – It’s been a productive week with plenty of healthy debate in both of Wyoming’s legislative houses, Speaker of the House Steve Harshman told media in a meeting on Friday, Feb. 21.
The budget dominated discussion, as HB 1 and SF 1, the House and Senate’s respective budget bills, have been the primary focus of both houses. Both were expected to complete third readings of the bills by the end of the night on Friday.
On Friday morning, Harshman said he expected a number of House amendments rejected on second reading to return during third reading. But overall, he was positive about the day’s outcome.
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“We’ve got a really clean budget, probably the cleanest I’ve seen in 20 years,” he said. “We also stayed pretty close to the governor’s recommendations. Obviously, there were some funding recommendations that the Joint Appropriations Committee made, but we’ve really stuck with the appropriations. They’ve educated the body well and realize the work they’ve put in.”
Between the work the legislators, the JAC and the governor have put into the budget, Harshman believes that Wyoming is in a good place and will continue on that path into the biennium. He reiterated that the houses would provide a “common sense” budget to the people of Wyoming.
He commented on the Wyoming Senate cutting $28 million in block grant funding, noting that while disappointing for the university, the school would continue providing a quality education to students.
“I think the sun came up again today over the east and I think the University of Wyoming will still be there,” he said.
Harshman also expected the third week of the budget session, beginning Monday, Feb. 24, to be just as busy as this one. Since Friday was to be dominated by budget talks, Monday would be busy, since it would also be the last day for bills to be reported out of a committee in its house of origin.
As of press time, the House had six committee meetings slated for Monday, with 16 bills being discussed among them.